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Santa Clara County: Valley of Fungal Delight

The County is one of the biggest mushroom producers in the country, growing upward of 17,000 tons in 2021

COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, CALIF. — You may not know it, but the County of Santa Clara is a mushroom mecca.  

More mushrooms are grown here than almost anywhere else in the country. Last year, a handful of county growers produced 17,499 tons of them, from the usual whites and browns to less common varieties like oyster and shiitake, for a total of $79 million.  

County of Santa Clara Agricultural Commissioner Joe Deviney talks to a mushroom farmer, with mushrooms in the foreground.
County of Santa Clara Agricultural Commissioner Joe Deviney, right, visits a mushroom farm.

Mushrooms are nutritious – packed with vitamins and antioxidants – and increasingly prized by foodies. 

 

They’re appealing to the County of Santa Clara farmers because you can grow a lot of them in a small area – on stacked trays in dark and climate-controlled rooms. Last year, county growers produced 132 tons of mushrooms per acre compared with 5.5 tons per acre for broccoli, for example, and 32 tons per acre for wax and chili peppers.   

“Mushrooms are a valuable crop,” said Joe Deviney, the County’s Agricultural Commissioner. “You can grow them year-round, not just once per year, as is the case with many other crops.”  

California is second among U.S. states to Pennsylvania in mushroom production. Among California counties, the County of Santa Clara has lately trailed only neighboring Monterey County in fungi farming.   

So, when you see a mushroom in your local grocery store or on your pizza, there’s a good chance it was grown right here in the area once known as the Valley of Heart’s Delight.   

To learn more about agriculture in the County of Santa Clara, check out the report: